Scott coming home to Herc watching old home movies of Chuck as a boy and not exactly crying but most of the way there…
NO FUCKING STOP UGH IT IS TOO LATE AT NIGHT FOR ME TO BE HAVING ALL THESE FUCKING EMOTIONS FUUUUUUUCK
I know, it’s too early in the morning for me to be… okay, it’s not that early any more and I should get up and have some breakfast. But still. BAM! Feelings, out of nowhere. (And a rumbling stomach.)
But like imagine the home movies are something like Herc just hanging out with Chuck and Chuck hugs Herc’s leg, smiling up at him [practically all his teeth missing] and saying “I love you da”
and when that part pops on screen Herc just pauses, looking at smiling baby Chuck and mumbling to himself “I know you do, son, I know you do”
Okay, someone needs to make Herc all better, stat. :( Scott?
(Scott was supposed to make it all better but I think he made it worse? I apologize that this turned into an angst fest.)
Scott doesn’t understand why Herc does this to himself, but maybe he does. After all, he’s been in his head too.
It’s been six months, and it might be six more. Hell, it could be six years down the road and Scott won’t be taken back, coming home to his brother sitting on his couch, facing the television set, the kid’s laughter ringing through the living room like he is still seven, and alive, standing up to his full height and barely touching Scott’s waist.
Herc isn’t exactly crying but he is most of the way there.
Only the dog lifts his head when he locks the door behind him. Only the dog lets out a short whine, lying there across Herc’s feet when Scott comes to stand by one end of the couch.
Chuck is seven, missing his two front teeth. The camera is a little shaky, pointing down at the grass and the kid clutching on to Herc’s leg with both arms wrapped too tight.
There is Angela laughing in the background, heard just over Chuck’s loud exclamation of “Love you, dad!”
Scott doesn’t understand why Herc does this to himself, that when he finally shakes apart, there are no tears or a sob, just that soft admittance he never got to say in return.
"I know you do, son. I know.”
(And if the memory of Chuck, twenty-one, suited up, repeating those last two words back at him, well, that’s only when the home movies begin to blur.) And if Scott is, somehow, better at this than he is, well, maybe Chuck would be here in his place.
Instead, what they have is Scott sitting down next to Herc, reaching down to heave Max up to stretch over their laps. What they have is Chuck laughing as he runs bare feet in the backyard of a house that no longer stands. He lets Herc sink into his side, his head falling to his shoulder, his fingers finding his over Max’s fur.
(And if that isn’t the Hansens’ home movies playing on his television, Herc might draw Scott down for a kiss that is all teeth and tongue until he isn’t feeling like he is about to fall apart. It is only then that Scott will coax him back from the edge with tongue and lips until he isn’t splitting at the seams.)
What they have though is two old men, left all alone in a world the little boy they all called Charlie then gave his life to save.
for frikadeller, who wanted to read (I think) some fluffy Herc/Raleigh with a little comfort thrown in…
Herc knows by now that if Raleigh disappears for an afternoon, no note left behind and no text to say where he is, that the evening’s likely to be a rough one. He does the best he can to keep things as smooth as possible, makes sure there’s some beer in the fridge, and something of minimum fuss to eat.
He’s on their bed, picking from a bowl full of chicken bits and fries, when Raleigh finally comes in.
"Come on," he says, holding the bowl steady while Raleigh sits on the edge of the mattress, pushes himself across it until his head’s in Herc’s lap.
"Chilli chicken, want some?"
Raleigh nods, mute, and opens his mouth for the bite Herc gives him.
Raleigh says nothing, turning towards Herc instead and wrapping his arm around, behind, getting as close as he can.
"You’re okay. You’re here with me, and I told you before I’m not going anywhere. Hey." Herc lays his hand on Raleigh’s hair, and the length of it makes him smile, remembering Raleigh’s refusal to get it cut because - and he’d grinned when he’d said it - it makes him look like a true surf God. He threads his fingers through, listens to Raleigh’s deep sigh as he strokes, gently. "I know some days it feels like we still lost everything, like we didn’t really win. I know that.”
"Herc, it’s not-"
"You’ve got me. And I…"
"I know." Raleigh reaches higher, curls his hand over Herc’s shoulder and pulls himself up, and Herc keeps his fingers buried in Raleigh’s hair, watching him closely. "I know you do," Raleigh says, a quiet and raw edge to his voice. "I just, I guess some days it’s right there. Like we’re living with ghosts."
"Yeah," Herc says. Sighs, and closes his eyes briefly when Raleigh touches his cheek, his jaw. "I think it’s what reminds us we’re alive."
"Better than forgetting them."
"It is. Are you happy here? Even with the ghosts?"
"Always. I’m sorry I didn’t come straight home, I-"
"No, no. Not about that." Herc shakes his head, a familiar warmth settling in his stomach because at least Raleigh knows where home is. “We’re not the same any more. Not like Manila. But that’s a good thing, right?”
"We weren’t in love in Manila," Raleigh says, looking Herc straight in the eyes. "That was infatuation."
"On your part," Herc says, smiling.
"Pssh. Fine, on my part. You just wanted to screw me before Scott had the chance."
Herc laughs, nodding because it’s true. The Beckets were the Academy’s latest Golden Boys, they were hot and in demand and yes, Herc had wanted nothing much more back then than another notch on his proverbial bedpost. “Good couple of nights, that.”
"You’re still the best I ever had. No, we’re not the same, but I’d be miles away from here if we were. I’m not, though. Not going anywhere either."
Herc strokes his fingers through Raleigh’s hair again, lifting the ends because yeah, it’s getting long. And somehow that’s a part of who they are now, that it doesn’t matter any more, that Herc loves the feel of it between his fingers, that Raleigh is calmed by something so damn simple. “Best you ever had, huh?”
Raleigh shifts, all the way over Herc’s lap, kisses his neck and scratches at the short, scruffy hairs at his nape. “Mm, practice makes perfect, though.”